The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have a real deal franchise quarterback. Trevor Lawrence is slowly becoming the bonafide signal-caller they were expecting him to be when he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
Lawrence finished 28-of-39 for 262 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in Sunday's 38-10 rout of the Los Angeles Chargers. It was the franchise's first road win since 2019. Two straight weeks, Lawrence has had steady command of the Jaguars’ offense and has generally been accurate to all levels of the field. So far, moving on from Urban Meyer to new head coach Doug Pederson has been a great move for the Jaguars, and Lawrence is catching on quickly.
Between Lawrence’s improvement and Pederson’s stability, the Jaguars look like one of the best teams in the AFC as things stand at the end of Week 3. Jacksonville now sits atop the AFC South and comfortably looks like the best team in the division. Lawrence is a huge reason for the Jaguars’ early season success. They're 2-1 and could easily be 3-0 had it not been for some late lapses against the Washington Commanders in Week 1.
Not only did Lawrence and the Jaguars avoid a turnover Sunday, they also didn’t allow Lawrence to be sacked. The Jaguars appear to have their long-term answer at QB, which allows other Jaguars to come into focus when discussing what the ceiling on this team can be.
Years of picking at the top of the draft is coming into fruition in a serious way. Lawrence is developing into a star, players like Josh Allen (taken seventh overall in 2019) and Tyson Campbell (a 2021 second-round pick) are key players on defense, and 2022 first overall draft pick Travon Walker is already flashing the traits of an impact, do-it-all defensive lineman. Lawrence may be what gets people excited about the Jaguars, but this is a team that has quietly become well-rounded in terms of non-quarterback talent.
Pederson is a part of that talent as well. These Jaguars feel starkly different than the team that was tripping and falling through last season with Meyer as their head coach. Lawrence has six touchdown passes and is already halfway to the total from his entire rookie campaign. The Jaguars are organized and they're feeling the benefit of a legitimately successful, professional coach leading their team.
Pederson has been able to get production out of several quarterbacks during his NFL coaching tenure, and getting someone as talented as Lawrence up to speed seems to be his next fruitful QB project. If Pederson can pull productive play out of Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, Lawrence should be able to establish himself as a star under Pederson’s tutelage.
This feels like uncharted territory for the Jaguars. Now, they have the quarterback talent to help them get over the top. The win over the Chargers shows how good this team can be when all cylinders are firing. This wasn’t another weak AFC South opponent, this was a Chargers team that figures to be one of the best in the league for the rest of the season.
The Jaguars need to be taken seriously, and are already in the driver’s seat for hosting a playoff game in January. The entire picture of an organization flips as soon as the quarterback comes to life. Just look at Jacksonville.